A U.S. man has been charged with fraud after being accused of trying to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of “nonexistent” personal protective equipment (PPE) to the federal government in a bid to profit from the coronavirus pandemic, according to law enforcement officials.

The Georgia man, Christopher Parris, was arrested Friday and charged with wire fraud by a federal court in Washington.

Parris, a 39-year-old from Atlanta, was accused of making “a series of fraudulent misrepresentations” in order to secure orders from the Department of Veterans Affairs for 125 million face masks and other PPE totaling over US$750 million, a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice said.

“For example, the complaint alleges that Parris promised that he could obtain millions of genuine 3M masks from domestic factories when he knew that fulfilling the orders would not be possible,” read the statement.

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“Parris also allegedly made similar false representations to other entities in an effort to enter into other fraudulent agreements to sell PPE to state governments.”

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Parris claimed to act as a supplier that was able to obtain badly needed PPE supplies through his company,